Pure Randomness!

Pure Randomness!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Out of body experience

You are walking down the aisle in a mall and suddenly you see yourself walking as if you are totally another person. Have you ever experienced that? It is indeed a freaky experience.
2 days back I picked up two of my staff at TFI to get back to the training institute and was waiting at the traffic signal. Suddenly I look at the rear view mirror and my holy life jumps out of my skin.
For you to understand what I mean, you should know what I drive. I drive a rare species of Scorpio which is a Sports model, yellow in colour with uniquely patterned side and front bonnet stickers. I call mine Tweety. Though I do not know exactly how many of these cars are there on road, I know that there are just a few and it is a very rare thing for a Sports Scorpio to meet another Sports Scorpio, let alone get followed.
So I looked through the rear view mirror and saw the same car behind me. The really creepy thing is the car behind me has the front bonnet sticker torn at the same place as my Tweety. So when the light turned green I started moving hoping that the freaky feeling together with the duplicate car behind me will pass. But it started following me. Imagine you are walking, you turn around and see yourself walking behind you. Then you start running and you behind also start running following you very closely. You can even see the small coffee stain on the white T-shirt on the you following you. You look down at your own coffee stain and start running faster.
Then at one traffic signal I left enough space on my right and both the Sports Scorpios were parallel to each other and I saw a similarly freaked out man staring at me from the other vehicle. Once I started moving the other Sports Scorpio overtook me and took a left turn and went while I continued straight ahead, shaking my head to hard trying to get back into my own body.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Story of Alex and also me

First day of the academic year I was faced with these 3 kids in class who have been detained in class 4. We had this small discussion and at the end of it I promised them that I will be working with them and I will work very hard. In turn they promised me that they will also work really hard and this time pass 4th std, that also with really good marks. This was one of the very first conversations I was having in class and during that I found that Alex was able to talk in English unlike the other 2. That was a good start.
Alex was 13 year old, have failed in all classes at least once till then. Alex could read 22 words per minute. He was 4th in Maths and 6th in English from the bottom of the class. Not a very bad place to start considering that I have only 13 kids. In the paragraph he wrote about himself he wrote this.

My seafe
My Name is Alex I am in Std IV. B. My school Name is [xxxx] Meb school is ver samll I aM 13 year old My Fared is in Ramase I vele group i vere becea Ramase oabesur. My Mother is in Plosel. My salasey is ver in Docasese. My 5

Looking at the things he has written and the way in which he read, I started doubting whether he is dyslexic. So I started using strategies which I would use for a dyslexic, after searching in the web and after discussing with my mentor who has experience with such kids. Making him read one word at a time covering the rest of the words, making him place his finger on the page after writing each word for leaving space while writing etc.
But slowly I started seeing behavior which I was not really expecting from a 13 year old. If he doesn't listen in class and if I ask him to listen with a slightly stern face, he would sulk. He is rather big at 13 when compared to the rest of the class and sits on the front row. When the rather short ones who sit at the back cannot see and I ask Alex to move in, he would not. He always kept losing his books, pencils, erasers and felt that it was my mistake that he was losing them.
He also lied like no body's business. So when he doesn't want to stay back in my extra class he would tell his mom that I am not well and he would tell me that his mom has asked him to get home early so they could go to the church. When he returned home 3-4 days continuously his mom came in to find out what has gone wrong with me. When we found out what was happening his mom and me decided to stay in touch more often.
Once he told me when we were talking about planes, that his father has actually made him fly a fighter plane. With all the right actions, he showed me how he pulled the lever up and the plane moved up and how he needed to pull it down to bring the fighter back down. May be by this time I have already had a feeling was there was more to Alex than what met my eyes at first.
He also told me towards the end of the year when the summer vacation was approaching that he is going for a holiday to London. Knowing his background I knew this can't be and casually checked with his mom whether he has heard about some one going to London and she told me smilingly that "you know him by now, it is all in his head".
Slowly the kids who were behind him when we began the class, started moving ahead of him and he stayed almost where he was. His reading fluency improved from 22 to 40, but then there were others who improved fluency from 7 to 50. His Maths skills stayed the same. He could count, add and subtract without borrowing or carry over in the beginning. He managed to conquer borrowing and carry over. But multiplication, division, geometry, measurements all evaded him, which the other kids picked up though with a lot of struggle.
In the meanwhile I kept talking to his mom to find more details about him and I found one thing which may be mattered, that he was prematurely born and was in the incubator for a while. May be that explained or may be I shouldn't be really searching for explanations.
Once I heard my co-fellow talking to her kids mother about a special educator for students with special needs, to whom she wanted the kid to be taken to. I jumped at the opportunity, got the number and passed it on to Alex's mom. I kept checking whether she has called. It took solid 2 months before she managed to contact the special educator. She got Alex's mom to get his IQ checked and it turned out to be 64, which meant moderate mental retardation. I kicked myself hard for not recognizing it earlier and wasting his time. Then his mom was given the details of a school for slow learners which refused to take him in since they can only handle kids whose IQ is above 70.
Now the special educator has started taking classes for him twice a week. His mom is also trying for admission in another school for slow learners and it should go through.
I learnt that I have my limitations and it is better for my kids and myself that I realize that. Because at the end of the day I managed to change the wrong course Alex was in and hopefully put him into a less harsher route for his mental abilities. I am indeed going to track his progress and see whether he is adjusting to this new course and also gaining from it. Will keep you posted.